Abstract: Cronobacter are opportunistic food-borne pathogens associated with meningitis, sepsis, and necrotizing enterocolitis. Little attempt has focused on detection of viable cell of Cronobacter spp. in dry aquatic products, which were frequently used for raw materials of infant foods due to high nutrition. In this paper, one-step reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was developed for detection of viable Cronobacter spp. in dry aquatic products. Specificity test indicated that clearly expected amplicon in size 469bp was amplified from RNA of Cronobacter, but not from RNA of negative controls and DNA of Cronobacter strains. The sensitivity was 104 CFU/mL of Cronobacter strain in artificially fish meal samples and 101 CFU/mL of Cronobacter after 10-h enrichment. In a total of 81 dry aquatic products, 9.8%, 8.6%, and 9.8% of samples were found to be positive for Cronobacter by one-step RT-PCR, U.S. Food and Drug Administration method, and Druggan-Forsythe-Iversen medium, respectively. The results clearly indicated that one-step RT-PCR could avoid the interference of residual DNA of Cronobacter in food samples and be used to specifically detect viable Cronobacter spp. for large-scale monitoring of food samples.
Practical Application: The use of rapid and specific detection of food borne pathogens in food samples was most of importance for control and precaution of food borne diseases. In this study, one-step RT-PCR was developed for detection of Cronobacter spp. in aquatic products. A comparison of different methods for detection of Cronobacter indicated that the newly developed method could be widely used to specifically detect Cronobacter spp. in food samples.